Scammer Alert

Sometimes having the best anti-virus software on your computer is not enough. Sometimes email messages will get through that threaten your security and financial welfare – because the email does not contain a virus. Also criminals continue to use old technologies like phone calls, snail mail and faxes to separate you from your money.

As in this case, criminals will try to get to your cash through the simple use of your fax.

A very common trick of cyber criminals today is pulling at your heartstrings. For example. This morning a co-worker reported receiving this fax/email message. I share this in order to help spread the word. Never ever respond to messages like this.

Here is the actual fax, which in our case was received through a connected email account. Today many fax accounts are often attached to email.

Here is the message which as I recommend should not be opened if received by email. Check out the date on the letter. It’s from the future!

Letters like this should never – ever be responded to. Throw them away.

Again – if you do not know the sender personally disregard the message. Always double & triple verify before you send any money to anyone. It’s a dangerous world out there dedicated readers.

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Why Digital Document Management?

This week I presented some information to the Borough of West Chester’s Sustainability Action Committee regarding the benefits of digital document management. If you were not there you can check out my presentation right here.

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Is Windows 10 Heading to the Cloud?

When Microsoft releases the next update for its Windows 10 operating system, it might also roll out a more lightweight version of the OS designed to work only with apps from the Windows Store.

Image result for windows 10 cloud

Several recent code leaks indicate that Microsoft is working on a version of its operating system called “Windows Cloud” that would run only Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. If so, the OS could be Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS, which competes with Windows and powers the comparatively inexpensive Chromebooks.

 

Designed To Take on Google’s Chromebooks?

Why would Microsoft build such a lighter-weight version of its operating system? As several observers have noted, Windows Cloud — if it proves to be real — could be Microsoft’s way of launching a shot across the bow of Google’s Chrome OS, which competes with Windows and powers Chromebooks.

Designed to run only Google-approved apps, the advantages of Chromebooks are that they start up quickly and offer greater security than devices that can run a wider range of software from sometimes dubious sources.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley compared Windows Cloud to a couple of Microsoft’s previous operating systems: Windows RT and Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU. Each of those versions of Windows powered a limited set of devices. And in the case of Windows RT, users were also limited to RT apps from the Windows Store.

“Windows 10 Cloud is a simplifed version of Windows 10 that will be able to run only Unified Windows Platform (UWP) apps installed from the Windows Store, my contacts say,” Foley noted on Jan. 30. “Windows 10 Cloud is meant to help Microsoft in its ongoing campaign to attempt to thwart Chromebooks with a simpler, safer, cheaper version of Windows 10, my contacts say, though Microsoft is unlikely to position it that way (publicly).”

Noting that Microsoft’s official response has been, “We have nothing to share,” Foley speculated that Windows Cloud could make a public appearance when Microsoft releases its Windows 10 Creators Update sometime this spring.

I have said this countless times. Cloud services are the future of how computing & mobile services will survive. However – are we ready for a 100% cloud based operating system? I am not sure about that – just yet.

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Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here @ The West Chester Technology Blog. We look forward to covering all things tech in 2017!

 

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Windows 10 Shines with These 11 New Features

OK – I admit it. I am a Windows 10 apologist. I believe Windows 10 is the future of the modern operating system. Although there is still much to improve Windows 10 is well on it’s way to being the first truly modern operating system. I can prove this by talking a little bit about 11 great new featured brought to us bu Windows 10.

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Groove Music Player

It looks like Microsoft will compete with Apple’s Garageband home music creation software with a new Groove Music Maker app. The sizzle reel showed an app for mixing instrumental and vocal tracks, plus apply basic effects like reverb.

A Better Windows Defender

Microsoft has been focused heavily on improving the security of Windows 10, and it looks like that’s getting a further upgrade with a redesigned Windows Defender coming in the Creators Update.

In addition to virus protection, the app also includes firewall and network protection, computer performance and health, and family safety features.

Rich Tab Previews with Edge

Microsoft Edge will get a feature designed to make it easier to flip through a bunch of browser tabs. The video shows a user able to scroll through a horizontal carousel of rich tab previews that show the contents of pages before they’re opened.

Tabs in Edge

In a similar tab management vein, Edge will also get a feature that looks like a way for users to save their browser tabs to access later. It’s reminiscent of features like Apple’s Reading List in Safari, which also lets users keep a list of articles and sites they want to hold on to for later.

Collections of Maps

Microsoft’s Maps app is getting a new section called Collections, which appear to be exactly what they sound like — groupings of places. It also seems like there will be some mechanism in the app for sharing those collections between friends, but it’s not immediately clear how that will work.

New Live Tiles

The new Start menu shows a new Cortana live tile, along with an icon for a Battery Level Live tile.

The former seems like a good way for people to get contextual information from Microsoft’s virtual assistant, and the latter seems like a useful tool for people with laptops and tablets.

Customizing Accent Colors

People who want to further customize the way Windows looks will be able to pick from a full palette of accent colors, rather than the handful of swatches that Microsoft allows today. It also looks like Windows will tell users when the color they picked might be unreadable.

Windows Store

It looks like the Windows Store will get support for selling in-app purchases directly from its home screen. Microsoft is showing both Minecraft IAPs and digital items from League of Legends in this screenshot, which could mean that there’s a partnership afoot between the two firms.

That would make sense, considering that Windows and Devices Group chief Terry Myerson name-checked the League of Legends World Championship on stage at the event on Wednesday.

Gaming Limits – Yes Gaming Limits

It looks like the Windows Store will get support for selling in-app purchases directly from its home screen. Microsoft is showing both Minecraft IAPs and digital items from League of Legends in this screenshot, which could mean that there’s a partnership afoot between the two firms.

That would make sense, considering that Windows and Devices Group chief Terry Myerson name-checked the League of Legends World Championship on stage at the event on Wednesday.

Better Quick Actions

 It looks like the Action Center, which houses notifications and quick access to settings, will also start giving users the chance to get access to files they have been working with on other devices.

It seems like an attempt to better compete with Apple’s Continuity features in MacOS and iOS, which also let people pick up where they left off on their iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs.

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Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard Arrives on iOS

Microsoft Garage today released its Hub Keyboard app for the iPhone. The company launched the keyboard app almost a month ago on Android, and now iOS users can now try it out.

One of things I miss the most from my old trusty Windows phone is Microsoft’s excellent keyboard functionality. This promises to bring some of that keyboard goodness to your iPhone.

For those unfamiliar, Hub Keyboard allows you to get things done quickly with its custom features such as the ability to search for your files from OneDrive, copy-paste text easily, share information of a contact easily, and more.

Microsoft Brings Its Hub Keyboard to iOS

From Microsoft:

Hub Keyboard lets you stay in context by bringing information from different services to your fingertips and help complete your tasks faster. Go back to history of clips you’ve copied, search for and share document links from OneDrive and SharePoint, insert a person’s information, and even translate on the go. It is a hub of different extensions, and is designed to help you save time and be present in the application you are using.

The iOS version of Hub Keyboard appears to work exactly like the Android version, with just minor user interface (UI) changes that make sense in iOS.

Here is a list of the functionality:

Clipboard. The Hub Keyboard’s multi-item clipboard offers a big improvement over the default, where you can store only one item in the clipboard. And using the “Recent clips” list, you can even access multiple clips (copies) from a single app, which is a really nice touch.

Documents. This lets you search documents in your OneDrive and SharePoint documents using a work, school, or university Office 365 account. (So not Office 365 Home or Personal.) Just type in a search term and document results will appear right above the keyboard. When you select one, a link to that document is pasted into whatever text field you’re using.

Contacts. This works similarly to Documents: Type in the name of a contact and a list of contacts will appear as you do so. When you select a contact, their information—name, home number, mobile number, email address, and so on—is pasted.

Translate. In some ways the most impressive feature of this keyboard, the Translate item lets you translate text you’ve typed into another language. It’s pretty sweet.

I have already disabled SwiftKey from my iPhone and will be sure to report on how this keyboard compares. If you want to check it out just search for “hub keyboard” in your app store.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 7 – “The Modala Imperative”

Modala_imperative

I found myself in need of a quick read before the new Star Trek novel, “The Latter Fire” by James Swallow arrives in my mail box this week. Just enough time for a graphic novel.

Star Trek: The Modala Imperative is a 8 part graphic novel (OK – a comic book) published in 1991 that spans 80+ years. The first 4 parts involve the TOS crew while the final 4 parts pick up 75 years later with the TNG crew.

Although this story pans two Enterprise crews Doctor McCoy and Spock are the true stars here. The Modala Imperative tends to play this fairly straight as these characters are the most involved because they’re in both legs of the story, but in each story the spotlight is shared equally among the main cast the same way it would be in an episode of Star Trek. The first part focuses on Chekov, Kirk, Scotty, Bones, Spock, Sulu, and even Transporter Chief Kyle, with moments set aside for Uhura and several other characters. The second part focuses even more equitably on Picard, Troi, Spock and Bones, as well as giving attention to Riker, Data and Worf.

The first half of the story is reminiscent of the episode “A Private Little War”. Here we find a potential Federation candidate’s fascist faction has been armed by a mysterious benefactor with advanced weaponry. Unfortunately, it is all that Kirk and Chekov (and their rescue team of Spock and McCoy) can do to get back off of the planet without breaking the Prime Directive, and the source of the weapons remains a mystery for another one hundred years. It’s not until a celebration for the 100th anniversary of Modala’s entry into the Federation that the suppliers of the weapons show their faces, and it’s not the Klingons: it’s the Ferengi!

Perhaps more interesting than the plot – which is good, but is standard episode fare – is the arc for the characters in question. This is Pavel Chekov’s first away mission, and he is dealing with issues ranging from nerves to hero worship of his Captain. Throughout the first four issues Scott, Sulu and Kirk all lend their hands to help Chekov develop, while McCoy, Kirk and Spock debate the wisdom of taking him along on this particular mission. The end result is a great story for Chekov in addition to a standard one for the more seasoned officers.

The second story is about aging. McCoy fears he might grow irrelevant, and he even implies that the existence of Data indicates that Spock himself is becoming outdated. Unfortunately, this leg of the story is hurt by the fact that Bones really is pretty pointless in a crisis at this point. At close to a century and a half, there is not much he can do to defend himself. He’s not needed for any medical situations, either; the most he does is to influence morale simply by being his abrasive self. Bones and Spock do bring up the age-old “Kirk vs Picard” debate, but they cop out by choosing “Spock” as the answer.

Here are Spock and McCoy, reunited at last in the pages of issue #2 of the second Modala series:

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The first story is significantly better than the second. Not only does it focus entirely on its regular cast members of its own show, but it also provides character development for Chekov that his character rarely enjoys. The second story, on the other hand, focuses more directly on guest stars Spock and McCoy, with nobody on the TNG crew really developing in a way that they would not on an average episode.

All in all, this is a good story for fans of either series to pick up.  The story is well paced, exciting and really captures the feel of both series to a really good extent.  The art, while not great, especialy in the second half of the graphic novel, is still good enough to make the action and characters feel like their real life counterparts.

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Apple Releases iOS 9.2.1 Update

Today Apple released iOS 9.2.1, marking the first update to iOS 9 since iOS 9.2 launched in December of 2015. iOS 9.2.1 has been in testing since December 16, with developers and public beta testers receiving a total of three betas before its public launch.
Today’s iOS 9.2.1 release is available as an over-the-air update to all iOS 9 users. A minor update, iOS 9.2.1 is the fifth update to iOS 9 in total, following the launches of iOS 9.0.1,iOS 9.0.2, iOS 9.1, and iOS 9.2.

iOS 9.2.1, as a 9.x.x update, is minor in scale, focusing mainly on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes rather than outward-facing changes. According to Apple’s release notes, the update includes security improvements and bug fixes, including a fix for a significant Mobile Device Management issue that affected enterprise customers.

This update contains security updates and bug fixes including a fix for an issue that could prevent the completion of app installation when using an MDM server.

iOS 9.2.1 will be followed by iOS 9.3, which has also been seeded to developers for testing purposes. Set to be released in the spring, iOS 9.3 will be a major update that introduces a new Night Shift feature to cut down on blue light exposure during the evening for better sleep and brings new educational features.

iOS 9.3 also includes new Quick Actions for iPhone 6s users and it introduces updates for apps and features like Apple News, Notes, Health, Siri, CarPlay, and More.

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Windows 10 Tips & Tricks

Now that I am on the lamb for a few much needed days away at the most magical place on Earth I decided I would share some great Windows 10 tips with everyone. Windows 10 has proven quite the success for Microsoft as Windows 8 is fading into the same dustbin of history where Windows Me & Windows Vista reside.

However to me personally Windows 8 was not the terrible disaster that many make it out to me. The problem was that the hardware many of us were using was not quite ready for it and Windows 8 needed much more polish before it was pushed out to the public, Thats where Windows 10 comes in to save the day for our friends at Microsoft.

Windows 10 is very new and many Windows users are seeing it magically appear on their Windows 7 devices. I am not sure that Microsoft pushing this major update down to devices everywhere is a good idea but that is what they are doing.

With all of this in mind here are some Windows 10 tips I am sure you will enjoy.


 

1. Delete your previous Windows version installation After you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 (where your installed programs are brought over to the new OS, and personal files are retained), a backup of your previous version of Windows resides on your hard drive (or SSD). It’s put there in case something goes wrong where you need to roll Windows 10 back to the older Windows. These files can eat up as much as 20GB of storage.

To get rid of this backup, freeing up space, run the Disk Cleanup application. (It’s listed in the Start Menu under the “Windows Administrative Tools” folder.) In Disk Cleanup, click the “Clean up system files” button, and wait for the program to scan your hard drive or SSD. From the list of file categories, put a check by “Previous Windows installation(s)” and “Temporary Windows installation files,” and click the “OK.”

Windows 10

2. Know how to sign out of Windows 10 Where’s the option to sign out of Windows 10? Click your user account name at the upper-left of the Start Menu; a small panel will slide down from your name with “Sign out” listed. The fastest way to sign out remains as it was in prior Windows versions: Just press the Windows logo and “L” keys together, and you’ll be instantly signed out.

3. Pick whatever accent color you want You can change the accent color of Windows 10, but you’re given only a limited palette of 48 colors to choose from under the Personalization page of the Settings app. But the classic Control Panel that’s still in Windows 10 gives you tools to create nearly any color you want for the accent. In the classic Control Panel, this color picker is nested under “Appearance and Personalization,” “Personalization” and “Color and Appearance.”

4. Use the new delay timer in the Snipping Tool There isn’t a new screenshot app in Windows 10, but the desktop application, Snipping Tool, gets a slight update. It now has a “Delay” button: Click it and select a range from 1 to 5 seconds. Then, when you click the “New” button, the capturing will be delayed by the time-delay you chose. This can be helpful to capture, for example, a menu in an application that’s designed to go away if you click away from the application. You would set the Snipping Tool to delay itself by 5 seconds, and, from there, quickly click open the menu in the application that you want to capture an image of, doing so within 5 seconds.

5. Change Edge’s default search engine from Bing to another oneMicrosoft’s new browser in Windows 10, Edge, also uses Bing as its search engine, but it’s not obvious right away how to change it, should you prefer a different one. If you look up the option to change the default search engine under the browser’s settings, the buttons are grayed out. The first thing you need to do is visit the search engine’s site. While the site is open in a tab in Edge, you then go to the browser’s settings: Click the “More actions” button that’s to the upper-right of the browser, select “Settings,” scroll down and select “View advanced settings,” scroll down to “Search in the address bar with,” click “Bing (www.bing.com)” and click “<Add new>”. The search engine’s domain and name will appear listed in a sidebar. Click it, and finally click “Add as default.”

6. Delay automatic updates over Wi-Fi Under the Home version of Windows 10, updates to the OS by Microsoft are automatically pushed out and installed. With the Pro, Enterprise and Education versions, you can defer updates “for several months,” according to Microsoft, but security updates are exempt.

Supposedly, updates are downloaded only on a non-metered Internet connection. So, if you’d rather delay receiving updates (such as, to avoid the possibility of a new driver being installed that doesn’t work with your system), one trick to try is to set your Wi-Fi connection under Windows 10 as a metered one. While you are connected to a Wi-Fi signal, click the Wi-Fi icon on the notification tray, and then click “Network settings” in the panel that opens. This will launch the “Network & Internet” page of the Settings app. Scroll down and click “Advanced options,” which will take you to another page where you can set your Wi-Fi connection as metered.

If you are connected to the Internet via Ethernet, there are two other, more technically involved ways to delay the automatic updating process, using either Microsoft’s “troubleshooter” program or the Group Policy Editor. Here are detailed instructions.

Windows 10

7. Record video clips using the Xbox app The Xbox app’s “Game bar” feature is meant for recording video clips of a game app as you play it, but it can also be used to record your activity on other programs. (This function may not work on some desktop applications and non-game apps. And you cannot use the Game bar to record your interaction with the desktop environment or File Explorer.) You turn on the Game bar by pressing the Windows logo and “G” keys together, and then, in the small panel that appears, checking the box by “Yes, this is a game.” The Game bar will appear. Click its red button to start recording; the gear icon to the right takes you to a settings panel where among its options you can set the maximum time for a video clip. You can also grab a screenshot by clicking the camera icon on the Game bar.

8. Remove the OneDrive folder from File Explorer If you’re not using Microsoft’s cloud drive service, OneDrive, and would rather not have the OneDrive folder appear in the File Explorer, you can remove it by tweaking the Windows 10 registry. Launch the Registry Editor: Press the Windows logo and “R” keys together, and then enter “regedit” in the Run panel to launch the program. From Registry Editor, navigate to: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6 Double-click “System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree” and change its Value Data from “1” to “0.” Sign out of Windows 10 and sign back in, or restart your computer.

9. Pin Windows apps to the desktop Windows 10 is designed to let you pin Windows apps to the taskbar and the Star
Menu’s tiles panel, but not to the desktop. Pinning apps to the desktop is possible once you create a new folder on the desktop and name it “NAME.” (You can replace “NAME” with whatever name you want.) This creates a modified shortcut to the File Explorer, which, when opened, will show an alphabetical listing of all the desktop applications and apps installed on your Windows 10 system. To pin a Windows app to the desktop, right-click on its icon here, select “Create shortcut” from the small pop-up menu, and then click “Yes” to have the shortcut for the app appear on the desktop.

Windows 10

10. Access all Windows 10 settings under one user interface Windows 10’s various settings are spread across its Settings app and the classic Control Panel, but if you’re frequently fiddling around with the OS, it becomes a pain switching between the two. The solution: Evoke all the settings for Windows 10 under one program (which has been referred to as “GodMode”). You do this by creating a new folder on the desktop, and naming it “NAME.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”. (Replace “NAME” with whatever you want to call this folder.) The folder’s icon will change to that of the classic Control Panel. Double-click it and you’ll be taken to a long listing of all the adjustable settings in Windows 10, organized alphabetically by category.

11. Uninstall default Windows apps Just like Apple has been doing with their iPhone and iPad line of products Windows 10 comes with several Windows apps that cannot be uninstalled, including the Calendar, Mail, People and aforementioned Xbox app.

Windows 10

Tech blogger Thomas Vanhoutte has compiled a collection of commands that you run under the PowerShell program to remove these default apps. To launch PowerShell, find it under the “Windows PowerShell” folder in the Start Menu, and right-click on Windows PowerShell and select “Run as administrator” from the pop-up menu. Then find the specific listing that Vanhoutte has provided for uninstalling the specific Windows app you want removed, and copy-and-paste it into the PowerShell command prompt.

For example, to uninstall the aforementioned People app, copy-and-paste “Get-AppxPackage *people* | Remove-AppxPackage” into the PowerShell command prompt and press the “Enter” key. Vanhoutte also provides a script to restore all the default Windows apps, in case you’d like them back.

These great tips were found at Computerworld’s website.

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Two Mile Wide Asteroid Set To Visit Us Tomorrow

NASA has confirmed that a two-mile wide asteroid will zoom past the Earth tomorrow travelling at 40,000 miles per hour.

asteroid-earth-nasa-610777

NASA has been tracking the giant rock and has given the all-clear that it will not collide with our planet.

Experts have estimated the size of the asteroid, officially called 86666 (2000 FL10) to be between 0.7 and 1.6 miles wide.

It is roughly a quarter of the size of Mount Everest and more than 15 times bigger than any other asteroid NASA is watching.

The asteroid was first spotted 16 years ago and has been classified as a Near-Earth asteroid.

An object is considered a potentially hazardous object (PHO) if it comes within 4,600,000 miles of Earth and is of a size large enough to cause significant damage in the event of an impact.

But while 86666 (2000 FL10) is certainly a large object that will come close to earth it is not thought that it will come close enough to cause any damage.

Nasa has released an animated projection of the asteroid’s path, which you can watch below. 86666 appears from the top left of the screen as it nears Earth’s orbit.

Asteroid 86666 Nasa animated gif

NASA uses its highly automated collision monitoring system Sentry to continually scan the most current asteroid catalog for possibilities of future impact with Earth over the next 100 years.

If 86666 (2000 FL10) passes by our planet safely, which we should all be seriously hoping it does it will again return in 23 years

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